Athlete awarded for courage

A torn ACL for most hockey players would mean the end of the season, but a Sparwood born player continued to play as the captain of his team earning him an award for perseverance, dedication and courage while overcoming severe adversity.

Captain of the Nanooks

Captain of the Nanooks

A torn ACL for most hockey players would mean the end of the season, but a Sparwood born player continued to play as the captain of his team earning him an award for perseverance, dedication and courage while overcoming severe adversity.

Kevin Petovello, 24, has been playing for the Alaska Nanooks, at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks since he received a scholarship four years ago.

“It’s been his passion ever since he was five years old,” said Doug Petovello, Kevin’s dad. “He drove me crazy getting me to take him everywhere.”

Kevin was awarded the Terry Flanagan Memorial Award at the Central Collegiate Hockey Association earlier this month.

“I’m more proud of the man he’s become than the hockey player he’s become,” said Doug.

Kevin tore his MCL (medial collateral ligament) last year and missed a few weeks of the season.

In December, he checked another player and the other player took him out at the knees and tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and caused other ligament damage.

“It’s pretty unheard of to play on an injury like that, but he did,” said Doug.

Kevin put on a custom brace, and continued to play. He only missed three games for the Nanooks and doubled his point totals from last season.

Doctors suggested that Kevin have reconstructive surgery in December but as the captain of the team he felt it was important to stay on the ice.

“It hurt him,” said Doug. “He’s now out for all of the training camps this summer.”

Kevin had reconstructive surgery on his knee on March 25.

“He’s on crutches now and it’s going to be a six month healing process and there will be lots of rehabilitation,” said Doug.

He said that Kevin is very focused and disciplined and has always been very passionate about hockey.

“One of his coaches in Victoria said that they’d never coached a better person,” said Doug.

Kevin has finished his last year at the University of Alaska and has a business degree.

Doug said that he is planning on moving on with hockey once he’s recovered from his surgery.

Kevin was playing Junior A hockey for the Victoria Grizzlies until he moved to Alaska.